With the water on most lakes now warming up to over 60 degrees, it is a great time to start to think about “shivering”. No, we aren’t talking about taking a dip into a cold lake and then spending the rest of the day trying to get rid of the chill in your body. We’re talking about fishing with a “glide bait” known as the Moonshine Shiver Minnow. This is the bait that gave us first and second place finishes a couple years ago at a tournament on Bays de Noc. Since that time, this bait has continued to produce big walleyes in a variety of situations.
There are two factors that make conditions perfect for shivering. The first is being in an area where fish are relating to structure, such as shorelines, reefs, and humps. The second factor is fairly clear water. This is important because shivering is a visual trigger for fish.
There are a few different ways to work a Shiver Minnow. The first is vertical jigging on deep structure. While you can work the structure blindly, if you see a fish below the boat on your electronics, you definitely want to stop and fish it!
Drop your lure down and give a quick two-foot snap followed immediately by slack line. The snap makes the Shiver Minnow jump to the side, and the slack line turns it around and makes it head back towards the starting position.
Most of the time we just let the lure crash into the bottom on each stroke. The fish will either hit it on the glide back or they will “pin” it to the bottom. The next stroke will act as the hook set. If we catch a fish on a particular piece of structure, we put our MotorGuide Xi5 trolling motor into “Anchor Mode”. This allows us to hold precisely on a spot, such as the top of a hump or right on the transition line of a reef. The Xi5 also has a “jog” feature that allows us to move in 5-foot increments in any direction without having to re-anchor to move slowly around the structure.
Trolling at a 45-degree angle while slowly moving around structure with the bow mount trolling motor is another way to catch fish on Shiver Minnows. We use an action similar vertical jigging, but sweep the lure about three feet. This is where the remote used to control the Xi5 comes in handy, as we can control the motor from anywhere in the boat. For this version of Shivering, it is nice to stand in the back of the boat so your line doesn’t have to run under the motor and transducers. The Xi5 also has “heading lock”, which means that the motor will stay on course in any direction we point it, even in windy conditions!
Casting is where the Shiver Minnow is king! What makes a Shiver Minnow unique compared to other glide baits is that after you “pop” it, it will jump to the side and then turn right around and head back to the starting location. There is no other glide bait on the market that takes a gliding path back.
This allows you to get a cadence down that can make the Shiver Minnow dart back and forth, similar to “Walking the Dog” with surface baits. This back and forth action often fires up fish and triggers them to bite when they normally wouldn’t. Remember, the key to the success of this cadence is slack line!
To properly work a Shiver Minnow on a cast, first let it drop to the bottom. Then pop your rod tip 2-3 feet, and immediately give it slack. Picture a whipping action, like grabbing the end of rope and trying to make it undulate. It is a fluent motion of raising your hand and then immediately dropping your hand.
The same is true when shivering. Lift the rod tip up, then without pausing at the top, return the rod tip to the starting position. You might pop and lower your rod from one to four times in a row without letting the lure hit the bottom.
If you make more than one stroke, the first strokes are to trigger fish, so you have to play with number of “trigger strokes” to see what they want. On the final stroke, always let the Shiver Minnow glide all the way down and make contact with the bottom. It’s on the final glide and bottom contact that you will get the bite.
For equipment, we like to use a 6′ to 6’6″ ML Walleye Angler jigging rod spooled with Hi-Vis Berkley NanoFil in 10 lb. test line. It makes it easy to see when the lure hits bottom or when a fish hits on the glide.
Tie this to a 10lb. test Berkley 100% Fluorocarbon 2-foot leader spliced to NanoFil with an Albright knot. You can learn how to make this knot by visiting www.thenextbite.com to see an animation. If you are fishing for large walleyes or in an area with a lot of snags, you will want to move up to 15 lb. test. Be sure to tie the leader directly to the Shiver Minnow.
If you are fishing in water up to 15 feet deep or targeting walleyes under four pounds, use a #2 Shiver Minnow. For deeper water or bigger walleye, move up to a #3 Shiver Minnow.
Although Shivering sounds cold, it is one of the hottest techniques in walleye fishing! So, no matter which way you decide to present the Shiver Minnow to the fish, we’re sure it will lead to your Next Bite!